Who will play me in the movie?

When celebrities die, The Bride takes it very personally. This is in part because of her deep empathy. She feels things. But it’s also her interest in the cult of celebrity that goes back to our teen-age years of the 1980s. Break out the 1980s trivial pursuit and she will bust anyone upside the head. She’s got mad skills.

So it’s not surprising the other day that our son texted The Bride when he heard the news of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose. They shared shock and sadness and bonded over the common love of movies. Then my son texted, “Who are we gonna get to play Dad in the movies now?”

My family likes to joke about the movie of my life. It’s part of the life I lived I guess, sort of like the old “you’ll laugh about this someday.” The movie thing is the laugh long after the pain.

But I have to admit, I’ve thought about who will play us in the movie. Sarah Jessica Parker is a lock for the bride, I think. But me, it’s always been more of a debate. I have to admit I was taken aback by the Hoffman comparison. I loved this acting too, but me? No. Pass! Next please!

I’ve always envisioned more of a Mark Ruffalo type — the whole indy vibe and the shared ideals, the similarities in a strain of cooled rebellion that I suspect runs in his veins as well. He seems like a good fit (assuming Brad Pitt and George Clooney pass first. I’d kill to have Pitt’s production company Plan B option one of my scripts. Just plain old sell my soul to the devil…). But apparently my son and I see me very, very differently. On what sphere to do these two seem likely to be considered for the same role?

Hoffman Ruffalo

I think I’m a little hurt. At least he could have said Jimmy Dugan even though he’s a bit old these days.

 Ok, confession time. I am not alone in this self-indulgent musing. You’ve considered it, at least one… right? Who WOULD play YOU in the movie of your life? Post it below. Come clean. You’ll enjoy a good laugh.

The process of recovery is recognizing the Tasmanian Devil swath of destruction we carve through our lives. We swirl up a lot of loved ones in the process. Only when we stop spinning and grinning from our devilish actions, we look around and have a choice. Keep spinning or stop and find a new way.

For Hoffman, the heroin was too much. After two decades of sobriety he relapsed and this time he couldn’t shake it. He died with a needle in his arm.

That struck home with me. I was in rehab with a lot of heroin addicts. I liked them a lot. Alcohol and heroin addicts share a lot in common. But the one thing they all talked about is the poor success rate for recovery among heroin addicts. It is horribly low. Hoffman is just another example of the terrible toil addiction takes.

So it’s not the worst person to play me after all… because I live with the reality that by God’s grace I broke free from addiction and found a different way. But like Hoffman, you can’t ever think you’ve got it licked. Not even twenty years later. Not ever. The cost is simply too great.

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